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the Prophets of old inquired and searched diligently :
2. To the same effect are the words of the great Apostle, which it is evident have never yet been fulfilled.
66 Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. But through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles. And if the diminishing of them be the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness ? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, That blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in: and so all Israel shall be saved."||
3. Suppose now the fulness of time to be come, and the prophecies to be accomplished, What a prospect is this ! All is peace, quietness, and assurance for ever.” Here is no din of arms, no confused noise," no“ garments rolled in
* 1 Pet. i. 10, 11, &c.
Isa. xi. 6, 9.
+ Isa. ii. 1, 4. # Isa. xi. 10–12.
|| Rom. xi. 1, 11, 12, 25, 26.
blood. Destructions are come to a perpetual end :" wars are ceased from the earth. Neither are there any intestine jars remaining; no brother rising up against brother; no country or city divided against itself, and tearing out its own bowels. Civil discord is at an end for evermore, and none is left either to destroy or hurt his neighbour. Here is no oppression to make even the wise man mad; no extortion to grind the face of the poor ; no robbery or wrong; no rapine or injustice; for all are “content with such things as they possess.” Thus“ righteousness and peace have kissed each other ;"* they have “ taken root and filled the land :" righteousness flourishing out of the earth, and “ peace looking down from heaven.'
4. And with righteousness or justice, mercy is also found. The earth is no longer full of cruel habitations. The Lord hath destroyed both the blood-thirsty and malicious, the envious and revengeful man.
Were there any provocation, there is none that now knoweth to return evil for evil; but indeed there is none doth evil, no not one; for all are harmless as doves. And being filled with peace and joy in believing, and united in one body, by one spirit, they all love as brethren, they are all of one heart, and of one soul. “ Neither saith any of them, that ought of the things which he possesseth is his own." There is none among them that lacketh ; for every man loveth his neighbour as himself. And all walk by one rule, “ Whatever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them.” 5. It follows, that no unkind word can ever be heard
No strife of tongues, no contention of any kind, no railing or evil speaking; but every one “ opens his mouth with wisdom, and in his tongue there is the law of kindness.” Equally incapable are they of fraud or guile: their love is without dissimulation : their words are always the just expression of their thoughts, opening a window into their breasts, that whosoever desires, may look into their hearts, and see that only love and God are there.
* Psal. lxxxv. 10.
6. Thus, where “ the Lord Omnipotent taketh to himself his mighty power and reigneth, doth he subdue all things to himself;" cause every heart to overflow with love, and fill every mouth with praise. “Happy are the people that are in such a case ; yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God."* “ Arise, shine, (saith the Lord) for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Thou hast known that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the mighty God of Jacob. I have made thy Officers peace, and thy Exacters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls, Salvation, and thy gates, Praise. Thy people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. The sun shall no more be thy light by day; neither for. brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.”+
IV. Having thus briefly considered Christianity, as beginning, as going on, and as covering the earth, it remains only that I should close the whole with a plain, practical Application.
1. And first, I would ask, Where does this Christianity now exist? Where, I pray, do the Christians live? Which is the country, the inhabitants whereof are all thus filled with the Holy Ghost ? Are all of one heart and of one soul : Cannot suffer one among them to lack any thing, but continually give to every man as he hath need? Who, one and all, have the love of God filling their hearts, and constraining them to love their neighbour as themselves? Who have all “ put on bowels of mercy, humbleness of mind, gentleness, long-suffering ?” Who offend not in any kind, either by word or deed, against justice, mercy, or truth ? But in every point-do unto all men, as they would these should do unto them. With what propriety can we term any a Christian
* Psal. cxliv. 15.
t. Isa. Ix. 1, 16–19.
Country, which does not answer this description ? Why then, let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian Country upon earth.
2. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, if ye do account me a madman or a fool, yet, as a fool bear with me. It is utterly needful that some one should use great plainness of speech towards you. It is more especially needful at this time; for who knoweth but it is the last? Who knoweth how soon the righteous Judge may say, “I will no more be entreated for this people. Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in this land, they should but deliver their own souls." And who will use this plainness, if I do not? Therefore I, even I, will speak. And I. adjure you, by the living God, that ye steel not your breasts against receiving a blessing at my hands. Do not say in your hearts, Non persuadebis, etiamsi persuaseris : or in other words, Lord, thou shalt not send by whom thou wilt send. Let me rather perish in my blood, than be saved by this man!
3. Brethren, “I am persuaded better things of you, though I thus speak." Let me ask you then, in tender love, and in the spirit of meekness, Is this city a Christian city? Is Christianity, Scriptural Christianity, found here? Are we, considered as a community of men, so “ filled with the Holy Ghost,” as to enjoy in our hearts, and shew forth in our lives, the genuine fruits of that Spirit? Are all the Magistrates, all Heads and Governors of Colleges and Halls, and their respective Societies (not to speak of the inbabitants of the town) of one heart and one soul? Is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts ?” Are our tempers the same that were in him ? And are our lives agreeable thereto? Are we holy as he who hath called us is holy, in all manner of conversation?"
A. I intreat you to observe, that here are no peculiar notions now under consideration : that the question moved is not concerning doubtful opinions, of one kind or another; but concerning the undoubted, fundamental branches, (if there be any such) of our common Christianity. And for the decision thereof, I appeal to your own consciences, guided by the word of God. He therefore that is not condemned by his own heart, let him go free.
5. In the fear then, and in the presence of the great God, before whom both you and I shall shortly appear, I pray you, that are in authority over us, whom I reverence for your office sake, to consider, (and not after the manner of dissemblers with God) are you“ filled with the Holy Ghost ?” Are you lively portraitures of him, whom ye are appointed to represent among men?“ I have said, ye are gods,” ye magistrates and rulers; ye are by office so nearly allied to the God of heaven! In your several stations and degrees, ye are to shew forth unto us “the Lord our Governor.” Are all the thoughts of your heart, all your tempers and desires, suitable to your high calling? Are all your words like unto those which come out of the mouth of God? Is there, in all your actions, dignity and love? A greatness which words cannot express, which can flow only from a heart full of God; and yet consistent with the character of 66
man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm!”
6. Ye venerable men, who are more especially called to form the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the shades of ignorance and error, and train them up to be wise unto salvation, are you“ filled with the Holy Ghost?" With all these “ fruits of the Spirit,” which your important office so indispensably requires ? Is your heart whole with God? Full of love and zeal to set up his kingdom on earth ? Do you continually remind those under your care, that the one rational end of all our studies, is to know, love, and serve " the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent?" Do you inculcate upon them, day by day, that love alone never faileth? (Whereas, whether there be tongues, they shall fail, or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away:) and that, without love, all learning is but splendid ignorance, pompous folly, vexation of spirit. Has all you teach an actual tendency to the love of God, and of all mankind for his sake? Have you an eye to this end in whatever you prescribe, touching the kind, the manner, and